Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo

The Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (Portuguese: Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo, PUC-SP), locally known as PUC or the Catholic University (Universidade Católica), is a private and non-profit Catholic university. It is one of the largest and most prestigious universities of Brazil. It is maintained by the Catholic Archdiocese of São Paulo. The university is also responsible for the St. Lucinda Hospital (Sorocaba) and the TUCA theatre (São Paulo)

Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo
Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo
PUC-SP Logo.png
Coat of arms of the university
Other name
MottoSapientia et Augebitur Scientia
Motto in English
Wisdom and Science will be increased
TypePontifical, private, philanthropic and confessional
Established1908 (as Faculty of Philosophy, Sciences and Languages of São Bento).
22 August 1946 (as Catholic University)
20 de janeiro de 1947 (Glorified as Pontifical by Pope Pius XII).
AffiliationRoman Catholic Church
ChancellorCardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer
RectorProf. Maria Amalia Pie Abib Andery, PhD
Vice RectorProf. Fernando Antonio Almeida, PhD
Academic staff
Other students
14,442 students of extension and specialization[1]
São Paulo (headquarters) and Sorocaba
, ,
ColorsBlue, yellow and white
SportsFootball, basketball, volleyball, handball, rugby

Most of the scientific production in PUC-SP is in the areas of law, philosophy, social sciences, economics, education, social service, and communications; in these areas, it is considered one of the most important universities in Latin America, and internationally recognized by the issues and research in disorders of human communication, political economics, semiotics and psychology. It has national and international recognition for its teaching and tradition, appearing in excellent positions in many brazilians and globals university rankings (with due regard to the criteria and methodologies used). In 2016, for example, according to the Brazilian Ranking de Universidades da Folha (RUF), the institution was considered the best private university of Brazil by the category of teaching quality.[2] Besides that, fifteen courses from PUC-SP are the best in the country among private universities and another eight are among the top five.[3][4] Nowadays, the university is in a privileged position: the annually published Ministry of Education's official ranking of higher education indicates that PUC-SP is considered the best private university in the State of São Paulo (the largest, richest and most populous state in the whole country) and the 2nd best private university in Brazil (just after the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro PUC-RJ).[5][6]

Internationally, it figured in the 2016 QS World University Rankings (Quacquarelli Symonds) as the 38th best university in Latin America,[7] the 52nd best university in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa)[8] and, according to the same ranking, in 2018, it was considered the 21th best university in Latin America.[9] In 2019, QS Ranking also classified PUC-SP as the 49th best university in the BRICS group and 6th in Brazil (behind USP, Unicamp, UFRJ, Unifesp e Unesp).[10] Thus, not only academically, the university stands out with its visibility in the market. PUC-SP is one of the most respected institutions in the job market in all Latin America and in the BRICS countries. A professional formed by PUC is highly valued: the British ranking also classified the university as the 4th best brazilian university in employability and 19th in Latin America.[11]

PUC-SP was the first university in Brazil to offer graduate programmes in the areas of Philosophy, Multimedia, Social Service, Psychology of Learning, Applied Linguistics and Speech-language Therapy. It also was the second university to offer a bachelor's degree in International Relations, which offers "double diplôme" for selected students that can finish their studies in Sciences Po. Since 2003, PUC-SP participates in the joint graduate program in International Relations Programa San Tiago Dantas together with UNICAMP and UNESP, one of the most important graduate programmes in the area in Brazil. Since 2010 it also offers a joint master's degree with Pantheon-Sorbonne University at "Economie de La Mondialisation" ("Mestrado Profissional em Economia da Mundialização e do Desenvolvimento").

Despite being maintained by the Catholic Archdiocese, PUC-SP is well recognized in the city of São Paulo as a liberal environment since its professors and alumni's historical political engagements during the military dictatorship, especially within its main Perdizes campus, which hosts the Philosophy, Social Sciences, Communications, Arts and Humanities courses.

In 2020, the average annual fee was about US$6700, making it one of the most expensive universities in Brazil. However, there are several full scholarships available for excellent students and undergraduates with financial difficulties; for those who are scholarship recipients, one free meal a day and free transportation is also offered.

Besides postgraduate programms (29 Masters and PhDs), research is also encouraged at the undergraduation level: every year the university provides almost 400[12] research grants (US$800/ year) for the Institutional Scientific Initiation Program (similar to the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program in the U.S.), a national integrated system organized by the National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) that makes research undergrad students 2,2 times more likely to achieve a Master Degree and 1,51 time to became a PhD.[13]

In 2010, 80% of employees had a college degree.[14] In 2020, 63,3% of PUC-SP's researchers were women.[15]



The Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo was founded in 1946, from the union of the Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de São Bento (School of Philosophy, Sciences and Letters of São Bento, founded in 1908) and the Paulista School of Law. Together, four other institutions of the Church were connected.[16]

Founded by the archbishop of São Paulo, Cardinal Carlos Carmelo Vasconcellos Motta as the "Catholic University of São Paulo", the university received the title of "Pontifical Catholic University" in 1947, by the Pope Pius XII.[16]

In 1969s, PUC-SP was the first university in Brazil to have a post-graduation course.[16]

During the Military DictatorshipEdit

During the Military Dictatorship in Brazil, many students and professors at PUC-SP were present in manifestations against the Government, and the archbishop at that time, Paulo Evaristo Arns, admitted teachers from the public universities who were dismissed by the militaries. Some of the persons who started working at PUC are Florestan Fernandes, Octavio Ianni, Bento Prado Jr., José Arthur Gianotti.[16]

In 1977, PUC hosted the 29th meeting of the Sociedade Brasileira para o Progresso da Ciência (SBPC, Brazilian Society for the Progress of Science), which had been forbidden by the government in public universities. In September, some students celebrated the third National Meeting of the Students, also forbidden by the dictatorship. As a response, troops of the Military Police broke into the campus and arrested some students, professors and other workers.[16]

In the early 1980s, PUC-SP was the first Brazilian university to elect the rector and other administrative functions by direct vote from the students and teachers.[16] In 1984, two fires (one in September, the other in December, the latter believe to be criminal)[16] damaged the theater of the university.

Financial crisisEdit

In the early 2000s, two new campuses, one in Santana and one in Barueri, were created.

In 2001, the university had a deficit of 4 million reais, and that deficit increased in the following years, forcing PUC-SP to make a loan with banks, which generated a debt of 82 million reais by the end of 2005.[17] and the results could be observed for most of the year 2006. Some courses were closed for the low demand[18] and the several professors were fired[19] (although some of them had accepted to have their salaries decreased to avoid being dismissed),[20] generating protests from professors and students.[21] By the end of 2006, the university had its first non-deficitary months.[22]

In 2012, for the first time since the students, professors and staff have been given the right to directly elect the university's rector, the most voted candidate (Dirceu de Mello, which had already been elected for the 2008–2012 mandate and was on campaign for reelection) was not appointed for the position by Odilo Scherer, bishop-cardinal and responsible for appointing the rector. Instead, he opted for Anna Cintra, the least voted of all three candidates.[23] She accepted the position, even though she signed a document (a gesture imitated by the other two candidates) promising not to take over unless she was the most voted candidate.[24] The cardinal's decision was received with dissatisfaction by students and professors, who started a strike for indefinite time and did other demonstrations as an answer to Anna Cintra's indication.[25][26][27] On 30 November, she tried to gain access to the rector's room, but was barred by the students, who surrounded her and her bodyguards and caused her to flee by taxi.[28]


The main campus of PUC-SP and its administrative headquarters are located in Perdizes, a middle-class neighbourhood in the subprefecture of Lapa, in the west side of São Paulo City. It mostly consists of academic buildings, the University Theater (TUCA) and the University Church. Most of these buildings, built between 1920 and 1940, are part of the historical patrimonium of the city. The School of Exact Sciences and Technology is located near the city centre (Consolação Campus) while Business and Economy courses are also offered in the north side of São Paulo City (Santana Campus). The School of Medical and Health Sciences is located in the city of Sorocaba (90 km from São Paulo) and a campus in the city of Barueri offers courses of Business, Economics, Physical Therapy and Psychology.

Unities and coursesEdit

Cross Patio inside PUC-SP in campus Perdizes.
School of Exact Sciences and Technology, in 'Consolação' campus
School of Philosophy, Communication, Letters and Arts of PUC-SP, located near the main campus.
Faculty Course Campus
School of Social Sciences Geography Perdizes
History Perdizes
International relations Perdizes
Social sciences Perdizes
Social work Perdizes
Tourism Perdizes
School of Phylosophy, Communication, Letters and Arts Art: History, Criticism and Curatorship Consolação
Communication of the Body Arts Perdizes
Communication in Multimedia Perdizes
Letters: Spanish language (Licenciate) Perdizes
Letters: English language (Bachelor) Perdizes
Letters: English language (Licenciate) Perdizes
Letters: French language (Licenciate) Perdizes
Letters: Portuguese language (Licentiate) Perdizes
Philosophy Perdizes
Social communication: Journalism Perdizes
Social communication: Publicity and propaganda Perdizes
Superior of technology in Conservation-restoration Consolação
School of Law Law Perdizes
School of Administration, Economics, Accountancy and Actuarial sciences Administration Perdizes
Administration Santana
Administration Barueri
Actuarial sciences Perdizes
Accountancy Perdizes
Accountancy Santana
Economic sciences Perdizes
Economic sciences with emphasis in international trade Barueri
Superior of technology in Marketing Santana
Superior of technology in International trade Santana
Superior of technology in Environmental management Santana
School of Human Sciences and Health Speech therapy Perdizes
Physical therapy Barueri
Psychology Perdizes
Psychology Barueri
School of Education Pedagogy Perdizes
Pedagogy Santana
School of Exact Sciences and Technology Biomedical engineering Consolação
Civil engineering Consolação
Electrical engineering Consolação
Industrial engineering Consolação
Computer Consolação
Information systems Consolação
Mathematics (Licenciate) Consolação
Physics (Bachelor/Licenciate) Consolação
Superior of technology in Digital games Consolação
Technology and Digital media Consolação
School of Medical Sciences and Health Biological sciences Sorocaba
Medicine Sorocaba
Nursing Sorocaba


Like other Brazilian universities, students are admitted by an entrance exam called vestibular which consists of two tests containing questions on languages, science, math and history. The vestibular of PUC-SP also selects students for other colleges and universities in the state of São Paulo (Examples: Faculty of Medicine of Marília (public institution), Faculty of Medicine of ABC and the Faculty of Law of São Bernardo do Campo).

Notable professors and alumniEdit


Economy school
Education school
Law school
  • Osvaldo Aranha Bandeira de Melo (1908–1980), Director of São Paulo city legal department, first lay rector of PUC-SP between 1963 and 1972, desembargador of the Court of São Paulo
  • Tércio Sampaio Ferraz Júnior (1941–), philosopher of law and jurist.
  • Michel Temer (1940-), President of Brazil.
Philosophy school

Sociology school

Arts and Letters school


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e "Relatório de Administração" (PDF) (in Portuguese). Fundação São Paulo. 13 March 2009. Retrieved 13 March 2010.[dead link]
  2. ^ Paulo, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São. "PUC-SP: melhor em qualidade de ensino no RUF". PUC-SP. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  3. ^ "Ranking de universidades – Ranking Universitário Folha – 2015". ruf.folha.uol.com.br. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUCSP) – Perfil de Universidades e Faculdades – Ranking Universitário Folha – 2015". ruf.folha.uol.com.br. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  5. ^ Paulo, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São. "Sobre a Universidade". PUC-SP (in portuguese). Archived from the original on 20 December 2017. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  6. ^ "PUC-SP em Notícias #88". issuu; page 09 "Palavra da Reitoria" (in portuguese). Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  7. ^ "QS Latin American University Rankings 2016". Top Universities. 8 June 2016. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo". Top Universities. 16 July 2015. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  9. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2018". Top Universities. Retrieved 14 February 2021.
  10. ^ "QS Ranking BRICS". QS Ranking. 15 January 2021.
  11. ^ "Graduate Employability Rankings 2018". Top Universities. Retrieved 14 February 2021.
  12. ^ "Melhores Universidades: PUC-Rio é a melhor instituição privada". Guia do Estudante (in Portuguese). Retrieved 14 February 2021.
  13. ^ "Bolsista de IC tem mais chances de concluir pós-graduação, aponta estudo do MCTIC | Galoá Journal". Galoa (in Portuguese). 4 May 2017. Retrieved 14 February 2021.
  14. ^ "Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo". web.archive.org. 19 September 2008. Retrieved 14 February 2021.
  15. ^ "30 Universidades Com Maior Representatividade de Mulheres na Pesquisa Científica". querobolsa.com.br (in Portuguese). Retrieved 14 February 2021.
  16. ^ a b c d e f g "Uma história da PUC-SP" (in Portuguese). PUC-SP official website. Archived from the original on 10 January 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
  17. ^ "Entenda a crise na PUC-SP". Folha Online. 10 March 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
  18. ^ "PUC-SP cancela 7 de seus 10 cursos novos" (in Portuguese). Folha Online. 26 July 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
  19. ^ Takahashi, Fábio (30 December 2005). "PUC-SP continuará a demitir docentes" (in Portuguese). Folha Online. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
  20. ^ Takahashi, Fábio (28 December 2005). "Professores da PUC aceitam cortar salário para evitar demissões" (in Portuguese). Folha Online. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
  21. ^ Klinger, Karina (17 February 2006). "PUC anuncia mais demissões; alunos e professores protestam" (in Portuguese). Folha Online. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
  22. ^ Takahashi, Fábio (29 October 2006). "PUC acaba com déficit após seis anos" (in Portuguese). Folha Online. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
  23. ^ 3ª mais votada em eleição, Anna Cintra é nomeada reitora da PUC-SP. Lordelo, Carlos; Nascimento, Cristiane; Dolzan, Marcio; Vieira, Luiza. O Estado de S. Paulo. 13 November 2012. Accessed on 13 November 2012.
  24. ^ Nova reitora da PUC-SP descumpre promessa e assume cargo mesmo tendo sido a menos votada. Nascimento, Cristiane; Vieira, Luiza. O Estado de S. Paulo. 13 November 2012. Accessed on 13 November 2012.
  25. ^ "Cardinal challenged over university appointment". The Tablet. 27 November 2012. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
  26. ^ Locatelli, Piero (14 November 2012). "Dom Odilo desrespeita escolha da PUC e alunos entram em greve" (in Portuguese). CartaCapital. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  27. ^ "Alunos da PUC-SP decidem manter greve na universidade" (in Portuguese). R7. 21 November 2012. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  28. ^ Boarini, Julia (30 November 2012). "Estudantes impedem nova reitora de entrar em campus da PUC-SP". Folha de S.Paulo (in Portuguese). Retrieved 1 December 2012.

External linksEdit